Today, I write to you from Kabul, the capital of my Great Game.
My parents named me Faiz Hameed, but you all call me General Bum. Not my heroic acts in the Pakistan Army, but it is the bum that brought me fame. And I love fame. If I weren’t a three-star general, I’d be running my own PR firm. Not that I hate running my own army within the Pakistan Army these days.
There are days when I can’t sit, then there are days when I can’t stand. You wonder what’s the fuss all about. It turns out getting shot [rumours say, in the bum, but I won’t confirm] by your wife in front of your girlfriend leaves deep wounds. Something some Pakistani journalists threatened to expose to the world. Laugh at me all you want, but the truth is that in national interest that I took a bullet. No wonder I received the presidential award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence), for my untiring bravery in testing times.
Now, don’t ask me who is my General Rani, for it could be a Raja for all I know. These are modern times after all.
My proud work
Continuing on being shot. I first shot to fame in 2017 for siring an Islamist group, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, to destabilise if not dismantle the Nawaz Sharif government. You can call Khadim Rizvi (now dead) and his poisonous ilk my proud legacy. While you, my fellow Pakistanis, will continue to pay the price by getting killed daily because of the religious madness I unleashed for my own political gains. But everything is fair in love and in Pakistan.
I garnered a lot of praise when I, as your DG ISI, showed up in Hotel Serena’s lobby in Kabul last year with a cup of tea and told the world, “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.” I didn’t mean it then, I don’t mean it now. If you think making things okay was Pakistan Army’s priority, then you need to get a CT Scan. My Kabul visit came on the heels of our protégé Afghan Taliban taking over the reins of Afghanistan. I also wanted to tell India that I won against them fair and square in Afghanistan. Like a proud father, I stood in Kabul with ek garam chai ki pyali. Yet you continue to criticise me and my choices, while I suffer for you.
My courtship with Pakistani Taliban still continues, I use the carrot-and-stick method with them. Something United States used with us in the 20-year war. I have learned from the best.
I may not be your great 20th-century poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, but I’m certainly your 21st-century unsung hero. Today, I certainly have more impact on India than Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I’ve been the maker and breaker of governments – I am the kingmaker. I was the eyes and ears for Imran Khan. Actually, let me throw my modesty away, I was the real prime minister of Pakistan since 2018. I have been the best election engineer of the modern age. I pick contestants, conduct elections, and I even count the votes in the ballot. Now you see my range, from ballot to bullet.
As former ISI chief, my services to smoothly run the shady activities on the 4th floor of the prime minister secretariat remain unsung.
There is a reason why Imran Khan wanted me as his Army chief. He thought I am his man, but truth be told, once in the chief’s chair I shall be my own man. He can be a danger to Qamar Javed Bajwa, but I know where all of Khan’s proverbial bodies are buried. How? Because my friends, I myself buried them. All in the name of greater national interest. So let the former captain be fooled in my charm and mollycoddling, you need not worry — aap ne ghabrana nahin hai.
I am my own poet, just like I am my own historian. You talk a lot about me but you hardly know me. Even I don’t know me. All I know is that I don’t like the way things are going on in Pakistan. And certainly not the part where I am treated like a punching bag. If Asif Zardari thinks I am ‘khudday line (sidelined)’ or Maryam Nawaz thinks I am too controversial to be the next army chief, then they don’t know the next thing that will hit them. Unfortunately, there was a time when children who didn’t sleep at night were told by their mothers: So ja bache warna Faiz aa jaeyga. [go to sleep otherwise Gabbar will come]. I used to be Gabbar Singh of our times. Now I am just a political ridicule bay-faiz, or of no use anymore. I’m hurt but I won’t surrender. See you soon my Pakistanis, this time as army chief. You shall see, hum dekhenge!
This is part of an occasional, irreverent take on Pakistani issues by General Twitter. The real name of the authors will not be disclosed because they don’t want to be taken too seriously. Views are personal.